Clandestine UK Program for 3D Printed Suicide Drones for Ukraine Trialed

Published on March 3, 2023 by Madeleine P.

It has been more than a year since the war in Ukraine continued to have catastrophic and devastating effects in the country. NATO organizations have sent aid in the form of weapons and ammunition to Ukrainian citizens. However, it has been found that more innovative solutions are needed to fight the Russian invasion. That’s why a secret 3D printed “suicide” drone program from the UK for Ukraine has been discovered.

The fleet of drones under development includes both surveillance and reconnaissance systems, as well as an innovative 3D-printed version of suicide drones shaped like hang gliders. These solutions could be put to work for Ukrainian forces quickly and at a much lower cost than delivering heavy weapons. In addition, drones offer a more cost-effective and accessible alternative for the country and pose a significant air threat that could tip the balance in favor of Ukraine’s interests in the current conflict.

suicide drones

The only image of suicide drones made for the war in Ukraine (photo credits: QinetiQ)

The KINDRED Program

The drone program being developed for Ukraine is an ambitious project that originated in the Future Capabilities Group of the British Ministry of Defence. This group is charged with developing the next generation of weapons for their military. One of the companies involved in this program is QinetiQ, a regular partner of the Royal Navy in advanced high-tech defense and space projects. It was the company itself that revealed this clandestine initiative, through a statement removed from its website within hours, in which it confirmed its participation in a program to “provide recommendations on unmanned aircraft systems that could be easily deployed by the Ukrainian military.” QinetiQ’s statement did not include further details on the timeline or specifications of the drone, although it was accompanied by a photograph showing “a small drone, with a swept wing and tail fin, apparently powered by a pair of microturbine motors, and 3D printed.”

The 3D-printed drone program is part of KINDRED, a broader initiative to evaluate the type of weapons that can be fielded by Ukraine in less than four months. For drones, the timeline is only three weeks, during which time QinetiQ and four other companies showcased their experimental technologies at the Boscombe Down proving ground in southern England. The test projects included command and control payloads, sensors and VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) drones, as well as a 3D-printed hang glider suicide drone. There are no more details on the project itself, but we’re sure we’ll have more news soon. In any case, you can find more information about the company HERE.

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